Samuel Marsden | State Library of New South Wales

Samuel Marsden

Reverend Samuel Marsden, 1833, by Richard Read Junior

Reverend Samuel Marsden, 1833, by Richard Read Junior
Watercolour, ML 29

Samuel Marsden (1764–1838) was born at Farsley, Yorkshire, England on June 24, 1764. In 1790 the Elland Society, an evangelical group within the Church of England which sponsored the education for the ministry of promising youths, sent him to Magdalene College, Cambridge. In January 1793 he accepted an appointment as assistant to the Chaplain of New South Wales. Marsden arrived in the colony on March 10, 1794 with his wife and young child.

> Read Samuel Marsden's account of the voyage out to New South Wales via the Library's catalogue

Marsden became the first rector of St John's Church Parramatta from its opening in 1803 until his death on May 12, 1838. Marsden's religious activities included the establishment of an orphanage and school in Sydney in 1801. He undertook a range of missionary activities amongst the Aborigines and organized the first Christian mission to the Maoris. He traveled across to New Zealand on a number of occasions.

This Yorkshire chaplain was a man of strong personality and deep religious conviction. He was appalled at the vice and immorality displayed by the convicts in the settlement and was determined to establish moral order in the colony. Acting as both a clergyman and civil magistrate he was at times a controversial figure. His reputation for extreme severity as a magistrate earned him the title of the" flogging parson".

Marsden was also involved in many aspects of colonial life including farming. By 1802 he had acquired 201 acres in grants and had purchased an additional 239 acres from other settlers. His holdings gradually increased to 3,631 acres by grant and 1,600 by purchase in 1827. In 1803–05 he made several reports to Governor King and to Sir Joseph Banks on the prospect of sheep breeding and wool growing.

Samuel Marsden was Senior Vice-President of the Agricultural Society which was formed on 5 July 1822. As early as 1811 he sent the colony's first commercial shipment of wool to England and continued to play a prominent role in the development of agriculture in New South Wales. This jug and stand were presented to Marsden by the Society in 1825.

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